One Stop Capital Flop 

You'd think the loss of six million dollars would teach Oakland to stop making ill-advised business loans. You'd think.

Page 7 of 7

He took a seat on his front porch for a rest, and a minister from his church pulled into the driveway to deliver two milk crates filled with food: bananas, wheat bread, chocolate milk, pastries, and fruit juice. "You see this?" Brooks-Hamilton said. "This is what I've come to. People dropping by to leave me food." He shook his head and thanked the minister with a smile.

He spoke of his wife, Verna, and at the very mention of her name he broke into tears, which streamed down toward his boots. After a few minutes Brooks- Hamilton composed himself and conceded that he knows there's no such thing as a sure thing in the business world. When he borrowed the money from the city, that didn't ensure success; that only ensured a chance at success. But the city backed out when the going got rough, he insists, and that doesn't make for a true partner. True partners stick around. Look, he says, if the U-Wheel-It had gone big-time, the politicians would be crowding his porch right now, bragging about their good deeds.

Brooks-Hamilton walked inside his home, by now an empty cathedral of hardwood floors and white stucco walls, and he stood there all alone. The only furniture in the entire house was his queen-sized bed and two chairs stashed back in the bedroom. He'd lived there for twenty years, he said. Raised his two kids there. Now he looked around at the empty white walls. Apart from a thousand handcarts stacked in a warehouse across town from here, there was no evidence the man had ever owned anything at all.

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